THE sale of the old Staffordshire Police HQ has failed after the buyer pulled out at the last minute, the Newsletter can reveal.
It is a major blow for Staffordshire Police Authority - this is the second buyer to pull out of the sale of the Cannock Road land in as many months.
The authority triumphantly announced last month it had sold the site, although the name of the company and the price it was sold for were not revealed.
The buyer then began negotiations but withdrew its offer at the last moment citing “commercial reasons”.
The latest news has prompted concerns about the future of the land.
Councillor Judith Dalgarno, ward member for Weeping Cross, said: "It is disappointing and a great concern that the site will continue to remain empty.
"We never wanted it to close in the first place or Baswich House to be pulled down but there is nothing we can do about that now."
The site was put up for sale last year and was expected to go for up to £20m when the force moved to a new purpose-built base in Weston Road in 2010.
Earlier this year Taylor Wimpey were selected as the preferred bidder to develop the land, which has been grantedoutline permission for up to 200 homes, but the sale hit delays in July.
David Pearsall, chairman of Staffordshire Police Authority, said: "In light of this very recent development, the authority is now reviewing the situation before determining the way forward and will be considering a proposal next week to clear the site of the existing buildings.
"The authority is committed to ensuring that any future outcome is the best possible for Staffordshire taxpayers."
The troubled site sparked controversy when historic Baswich House was flattened despite a major campaign by borough and county councillors to save it.
Councillor John Francis said: "I am annoyed about it. The authority decided in a hurry to demolish Baswich House and to move the HQ. They were expecting to get £20m for it and I don't think they will get anything near that.
"As ward member for Weeping Cross and county councillor I want to see that the site is totally secured so that vandals and other people can't get on there. My constituents would not be happy if it became an eyesore.”